Validation of Innovative Exploration Technologies for Newberry Volcano Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Validation of Innovative Exploration Technologies for Newberry Volcano
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Geothermal Technologies Program
Project Type / Topic 2 Validation of Innovative Exploration Technologies

Project Description This project will implement a multi-step combination that is believed to have not been used before. This includes: identifying the geometry and the electrical resistivity associated with the pluton; locating areas of fluid movement in and around the pluton; measuring heat associated with the pluton; and looking for geochemical indications for degassing of circulating geothermal fluid. This approach applies gravity and MT surveys, although at much higher density than typically used in exploration. The plan involves using innovative patent pending, 3-D seismic geophone measurement tools developed by HiPoint Reservoir, LLC, that have not previously been used in geothermal exploration. The project also includes strategies for detecting deep degassing of geothermal fluid and using special flux measurement equipment at the temperature gradient well sites to sample for CO2 outgassing. Secondary mineral samples collected from the temperature gradient well core will be analyzed for stable carbon, oxygen and sulfur isotopes at the Southern Methodist University geochemical laboratory. X-R diffraction analyses will be used to characterize the thermal history of the cored rock. The final step will use temperature gradient data to map out the thermal characteristics across the pluton. The resulting model will be used to identify hot areas associated with the pluton that has fluid moving through fractures. One additional innovation designed into this program is multiple-use of temperature gradient drilling. The upper portion of the wells will be used for the 3-D seismic array. CO2 flux measurements will be employed during drilling of these holes, and the completed wells will provide the very valuable temperature profiles.
State Oregon
Objectives Newberry seeks to explore “blind” (no surface evidence) convective hydrothermal systems associated with a young silicic pluton on the flanks of Newberry Volcano. This project will employ a combination of innovative and conventional techniques to identify the location of subsurface geothermal fluids associated with the hot pluton.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Newberry Geothermal Holdings, LLC

Awardee Website
Partner 1 A. Waibel, Columbia Geoscience
Partner 2 Professors D. Blackwell and R. Gregory, Dept. of Earth Sciences at Southern Methodist University
Partner 3 APEX HiPoint, LLC

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000109

DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $5,000,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $5,483,016.00
Total Project Cost $10,483,016.00

Principal Investigator(s) Albert F. Waibel, Project Manager, Newberry Geothermal Holdings, LLC

Targets / Milestones -Lower the cost and risk of resource exploration

-Open up new regions for commercial geothermal projects -Create jobs -Raise significant new state and federal tax revenues

Location of Project Newberry, OR
About the Area Exploration efforts in 2008 using conventional methods culminated in two deep wells. Although Newberry encountered very high temperature in the wells, no geothermal fluid accompanied the heat. Due to the deep water table outside the caldera, where the flank pluton has been identified, there are no hot springs or fumaroles to provide surface identifiers for deeper geothermal systems.

Impacts If successful, this project could enable the identification of more geothermal resources in a high potential region of the Cascades. The comprehensive model proposed as a deliverable will be a great example of survey value.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs